Turbine Engine Training
Taking advantage of manufacturer provided courses
By Joe Escobar
Training — it’s part of our everyday work environment. Our initial training to get our A&P certificate was extensive and provided us with the basic knowledge to perform our jobs. Once we entered the workforce, we were provided with training specific to the systems we would be working on. This may have been in the form of formal classroom or hands-on training to having a seasoned mechanic show us the ropes. We were now ready to start turning wrenches.
But alas, the training didn’t stop there. The nature of the career we have chosen is that training will always be an issue. If we are to perform our duties safely, it is imperative that we stay current on all the latest technologies as they develop. In most cases, those who excel in their aviation careers are the ones who make an extra effort to educate themselves through regular training. It is a trait that led many of us enter the aviation field in the first place — we love working on aircraft and we want to learn how stuff works.
There are many ways to receive training. Many companies have their own training department. Although in-house training is a valuable tool for maintenance personnel, there are other options available to help enhance your knowledge. There are various training choices — from online courses to aircraft systems and troubleshooting training from companies like FlightSafety or SimuFlite. This article will concentrate on one aspect of available training — training courses offered by some turbine engine manufacturers.
Honeywell's computer simulation
ECB computer simulation
Computers have become invaluable tools for training. An example of how computers are enhancing the training process is Honeywell's computer simulation programs. The TPE 3321 simulation pictured has active controls like switches and power levers, and corresponding responses from indication lights and gauges, allowing the technician to go through all the steps of normal operation and fault isolation on computer. The ECB simulation illustrated helps technicians learn how to interrogate the ECB unit while at the same time showing the corresponding spot in the maintenance manual matrix he is in. Once familiar with the interrogation process, the matrix part can be turned off, allowing the technician to use only the maintenance manual as he would actually do in the field.
Honeywell Aerospace Academy
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Honeywell Aerospace Academy offers various training courses on Propulsion, APU, Avionics, ECS, Components, in addition to numerous related courses throughout the year. Don Ross, a Propulsion Instructor for the Academy, says that the training is beneficial to all levels of mechanics. "We offer three levels of courses. There are introductory level courses that are basically familiarization classes, intermediate level or line level, and the third level which is basically for our Service Center and overhaul type customers."
John Casey, an APU Instructor at the Academy, explains that most technicians who attend their training start off at the line level courses. "These are the guys that have been working in the field as a line mechanic for the last 15 years," says Casey. "They don’t need to go to school to be told ’This is a turbine.’ We can skip that and go right in to line level courses. They can go out there and learn to recognize faulty components and change them such as fuel controls or pumps, sensors, and other line replaceable items."
Ross adds, "With an understanding on the troubleshooting process, they are able to identify what components in a given system might be replacement items or adjustable." The Academy is able to offer many different learning environments. They offer traditional instruction in the classroom and hands-on training on engines. In addition, they have developed computer-based training software. It is this new, computer-based training that they are excited about expanding. With tight schedules to meet and manpower concerns, some companies can’t afford to send groups of employees off for extended training. Computer-based training like interactive CD’s or even Internet-based training are viable choices. We’re trying to expand that even further to where we’ll have real-time, online learning where you sign in to a given course and it will actually be instructor led over the Internet. We hope to have these type training courses by the end of the year."
Honeywell is also in the final stages of a unique teaming venture with another aviation training company and a Part 147 school to form what is to be called a Workforce Readiness Program. In addition to the recruiting, screening, and evaluating process, the program will include 20 weeks of intense training in Airframe. Avionics, Propulsion, APUs, ECS and other related, non-technical courses to produce a highly-polished product that meets the various requirements of different operators as well as complying with and exceeding the mandatory Federal requirements.
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